Facebook chief creative officer on what's holding back mobile advertising

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 2 March 2017
Mark D'Arcy

 Global mobile advertising is predicted to reach US$108 billion dollars this year and US$247 billion by 2020, according to Statista, but creative agencies still need guidance to crack the platform, says Facebook chief creative officer Mark D’Arcy.

“I am genuinely troubled if people aren’t building creative for a mobile-first world,” D’Arcy tells AdNews.

“If you think of the shift in human attention and the massive move to mobile, if you aren’t changing your marketing to think mobile-first, then you are missing a huge opportunity and it will cost you. Every start-up that threatens the dominant players in banking, automotive and more, is designed for a mobile world and that’s why they are successful," he warns.

Facebook’s Creative Shop launched in 2015 as a way to help marketers and brands be more creative on the platform and increase the overall impact of their ad campaigns. Since then, it has produced work for big brands, including Volkswagen and Chevrolet, and launched its own awards recognising excellent creative work. 

Now at 200 staff globally, D’Arcy says the Creative Shop does about 60% of its work with agencies and 40% direct with clients.

“Our goal is to help the agency community,” he says.

“We know good creative is one of the great competitive advantages of Facebook. It’s not just about the money. You can’t buy your way into getting user attention because more than ever, they have the power to decide what they will spend time on.

“If we build things by ourselves, then no one in the industry is learning. Facebook is learning but that’s the last thing we want to do. We want to protect people’s ideas on our platform and suggest ways on how it can come to life and be better.”

The social media giant has faced skepticism from agencies in the past over the role it plays and the balance of power between agency and client relationships.

However D’Arcy says Facebook doesn’t have plans to increase its direct work with clients, adding a “partnership model” is at the forefront of the Creative Shop and it won’t take out the middleman.

“The creative industry is so important to us. Yes we have the technology, but the technology can only unlock the power of creative.”

D’Arcy references the award-winning example of DDB Sydney’s #ComeOnIn campaign which used Instagram to attract people to check out the inside of the Opera House.

It also aims to move past perceptions of Facebook advertising as a creative after-thought.

“If you’ve got an advertising industry that was designed to build on platforms like TV and out-of-home, there are aspects of that history that are helpful and other bits we have to build on,” he says.

“It’s not about building an agency-like structure at Facebook. What we are trying to do is build something that brings our creative people to the table to help agencies create platform-relevant ideas.”

Facebook is currently looking to expand its Australian creative team following the exit of chief creative Rebecca Carrasco.

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